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5 Truths Every Mom of Teens Needs to Hear, Today

5 truths moms of teens need to hear, every day

Parenting teens in today’s world can feel beyond overwhelming. Kind of like trying to stay cool when you’re a piece of dry wood tossed into a dumpster fire. Many of us elder millennial and gen X’ers have parented teens through the evolution of smart phones, Snap Chat and X-box live. We have no flipping idea what we’re doing, and yet we’re meant to serve as master class level digital police, culture war moderators, and spiritual warfare ninjas in an increasingly ludicrous world.  Deep. Breaths.

It’s so difficult to keep the faith and remain optimistic, while dealing with teenage mood swings, unforeseen drama, evolving personalities and all the other magic that keeps our therapists equally horrified and entertained on the regular. However, just today I had a God thought.  It happened while spacing out at the kitchen sink, listening to my 14- and 16-year-old boys trapse through the house, chattering away on their Air pods, leaving a trail of snack wrappers in their wake. The voice simply said, “They’re both amazing. and they’re both going to be okay.” Admittedly… I was pretty caffeinated and high off a fresh Maverick City worship set, but my mind was heavily flooded with some assurances and truths I wanted to share with…well, every mom of teens, because frankly, we never (ever) hear enough edification or comfort. We probably need to remind ourselves of these truths daily, but I hope this helps, even for today…

#1 Your kids Are Going To Be Amazing Humans. Someday

Laziness. Ungratefulness. Eye rolls. Complete and utter disregard for others and/or the cleanliness of the backseat. This stage of parenting is not for the faint of heart. Sometimes it feels impossible to picture our teenagers evolving into high functioning, considerate, Jesus-loving adults with bare minimum domestic skills. For example, my 16-year-old just now spilled a fourth a jug of OJ in the fridge, promptly closed the door, and walked upstairs as if he were Rocky exiting the ring after an eight-round victory. Most teens refuse to reciprocate any kind of affection and when asked to help with the smallest of tasks, like shoveling snow, as if we’ve drafted them back to Nam. It can feel beyond defeating, but this too, shall pass.

My 23-year-old still lives at home and for two years now, I’ve been brought to tears by the simplest of changes in his empathy, domestic efforts and overhaul evolution from ape to human.  Simple things, like inquiring about my life. Offering to pick food on his way home. Putting his dishes in the washer.  So it’s not just wishful thinking and Hallmark lingo that I offer, friends. Sometimes we just need to hear it: this is normal teenage stuff. You’re raising good kids. You’re doing the best you can. And they will be amazing…someday.

#2 Your Teens Are Going to Love You Again (And Show It) Someday

After reading somewhere that kids up to age 18 need three hugs a day to feel secure, I’ve been doling out unwelcome affection for like a decade. The kids cringe, protest, and run the other way, but I chase and hug, nonetheless. It’s a healthy practice for their sake, but after a while, the lack of reciprocation does wear on a girl.  Like, dudes. I sacrificed a decade’s worth of manis to subsize karate and North Face drip… you can’t endure a side squeeze from the one who grew you?!  Add that to being perpetually ignored in public, and eventually demoted from best buddy to Uber driver… it can really take an toll on our hearts.

However. From what I remember from being my own disastrous version of sixteen, and from every friend I’ve watched raise kids across the finish line of adulthood…this too,  shall pass. Someday. I don’t know when…age 20. 25, maybe even 30? But some day, we will feel loved, connected and appreciated by our kids. I’m talkin’ to you, mom of that 15-year-old daughter who blocks and ghosts you from one bedroom over. I’m lookin’ at you, mom of that 13-year-old son whose texts take the form of some quasi-extortion and digital bullying (“Be here in ten!” “Buy me this.” “WHY are you here, Mom?”)

Here’s my best advice. Don’t let yourself fall into the “forever trap.” Reject lies like, “maybe we’re just too different and always clash personalities,” or “maybe they’ll always hate me because of the divorce.” Most of the time, our teens’ anger, ambivalence and moodiness is a manifestation of the stress and hormonal changes that have nothing to do with us.  In fact, often, teens take out their negative emotions on the people they feel safest, and closet to, because they know we can be trusted. Of course, I never condone rudeness or disrespect, but when our teens are distant and cold, we need to remember this is normal, and it will get better, in time. God blessed you these souls to mother, and you will have a loving, healthy relationship with your kids for all the years to come.

#3 Every Seed Planted Will be Reaped, Someday

Do you sense a pattern here? There is so much waiting and patience required in mothering that extends far beyond waiting in school parking lots and friends’ driveway. I believe the ultimate measure of our efforts, prayers and sacrifice comes to fruition so many years later, perhaps even when our kids are out of the house.  But every intercession, act of sacrifice, and every bite of the tongue when tempted to lose our temper matters. Every time we don’t cave or sink to the sheeple parents’ parental standards (sorry but it’s true!) every meal we cook (or burn) and hour of sleep we lose in worry is honored by God.

Our kids will likely never know the cost associated with good mothering. They’ll never know the vacation we didn’t take because high school football participation now costs 1 k a year. Single/divorced mamas, they’ll never know the dates we didn’t go on, or relationship you gave up because we wanted to be present with your kids. They’ll never know all the times we put aside our feelings, and squelched our own tears, to make sure their needs were met. But God notices, and he’s so faithful. Every good effort and seed planted…will be reaped in your child’s life.

#4 If Jesus Is Lord Of Your House, Your Kids Follow the Truth

This truth can be polarizing and difficult to reconcile, since we all know a few adult children raised in Christian homes, who are not walking with the Lord. It’s disheartening. But we also never know the inside workings of other peoples’ family lives and we also know it’s never too late for salvation. We need to stand on the Proverbs 22:6 promise that when we “train up a child in the way that he should go; when he is old, he will not depart from it.” I can attest to this personally, as a pastor’s kid who went completely AWOL in my teenage and early adult years, but eventually found my way back to the Lord, like the prodigal daughter returning from a very unproductive stint at University of Central Florida. It’s easy to let the fear swallow up every last ounce of faith, but never stop praying, and thanking God in advance for your kids remaining close to Him, even if they end up veering, stumbling or taking the long road back to home.

#5 There Are No Perfect Parents, And No Perfect Kids

Mom guilt can be crippling, especially in the teen years. We of course experienced guilt when they were little, but back then we were comforted by perpetual affection, adoration and “I WUV you’s” to mend our emotional wounds. Now when we screw up or disappoint them, we’re only met with the silent treatment and eye rolls. Brutal. We need to remind our hearts daily that we’re trying our best, and our kids are going to be okay. We’ve made terrible decisions, regretted stupid mistakes and let down each of our kids through the years, in one form or another. Thus is parenthood.

We’ve over-disciplined, and under-disciplined. We’ve failed to communicate, over-reacted, and lost our tempers when we should’ve taken a breath. We’ve been selfish and we’ve been distracted when they needed us most. The list goes on, which sound super depressing until we re-center on this truth: God is big enough, good enough and faithful enough to cover our mistakes. He loves our kids more than we do, and he’s not gonna let our teens perish because got we instituted the wrong dating rules or put them in public school too early. He’s not keeping a single record of wrong against us, and He sees and cares about the weight of our love burden. He wants us to forgive ourselves and enjoy our kids without being inflicted by constant pangs of shame. Your kids are gonna make it. And you are, too. One awkward hug at a time. xo

For more on parenting teens, check out my post 6 Truths For Moms To Remember, When Army-Crawling Through The Teen Years





Jessica Kastner is an award-winning journalist, author and contributor to the Christian Broadcasting Network, Huff Post, God TV, Beliefnet, Crosswalk and many more. When she's not burning dinner, daydreaming about the beach, she can be found on the trampoline with her copious amount of children, wishing she'd ordered the turbo shot.

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